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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

224*                                  XJFE   OF
crocodile of the Apure is quick and sudden in attack.,
and makes a curious noise as it runs, which seems to
proceed from its scales heating against each other.
They run straightforwards, but they can^ turn very
well; Humboldt often saw young ones biting their
own tail Only when swimming against the stream it
finds a difficulty in turning, and the large clog whicli
accompanied Humboldt escaped from a crocodile by
<juickly turning round against the stream,
iNear Joval, where the country grows more and
more wild, Humboldt saw a large tiger lying in the
shadow of a zamang, one of its paws resting on a jtist
caught chigulre (about the size* of our pigs). The
jsamures (a kind of vulture) had approached to share
the remnants of the feast,, and came to within two
feet of the tiger, but the least movement sent them,
terrified away. When the boat of the travellers
.approached, the animal hid behind the sanso bushes,
and the vultures tried to seize the opportunity to
devour the chiguire, but the tiger, in spite of the
vicinity of the boat, leaped among them and carried
his prey off into the wood.
Lower down the stream they saw a whole herd of
chigTiires from which the tiger had probably taken his
victim.; they did not seem to fear human beings,
but ran away and dispersed at sight of the large dog;
which accompanied the travellers ; so slowly did they
run, however, that two af them were caught.
Humboldt and his companions spent the night., as
usual, in the open air. The next morning, on the 1st
April, they passed a flat island below Joval which was
inhabited by innumerable flamingoes, spoonbills, fish-*
bills, and waterfowl. The next night the travellers
spent on the barren shores below Yuelto del Oochino^
and the thick forest was so impenetrable, that there
was scarcely sufficient dry wood to be obtained for the
Indians to make a fire as a protection against the
tigers. The night was calm, clear, and moonlight,
the crocodiles were lying on the shore looking towards
the fire, whose brilliancy seems to attract them, as